Monday Dec 20, 2010

Sun Founders Panel 2006

I was a little concerned when I realized that a video has vanished from a Computer History Museum's page at the time when Sun's website was reorganized during the transition to Oracle. It was an intriguing panel with Sun founders and pioneers Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and John Gage. Ironically I remember the quote

"Get them on tape before they die."

And if you have them on tape, keep the video up regardless of any changing situations; you are a museum! But here is the good news (thanks Oliver): The webcast is still available on YouTube. Enjoy!

Some quotes at A Tribute to Sun Miscrosystems: A Night to Remember

sun systemnews Jan 4, 2011:

Redundancy is sometimes the salvation of technology. Certainly in the case involving the supposed holdings of the Computer History Museum, without redundancy and YouTube, the Sun Microsystems Founders Panel (Bill Joy, Andy Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and moderator John Gage) would have vanished forever since the video disappeared mysteriously from the museum's web site during the confusion around the reorganization reflecting Oracle's acquisition of Sun. Now, in all their glory, the founding four, courtesy of YouTube, share their personal stories of the early days at Sun.

Tuesday Oct 19, 2010

Oracle VDI UX Story - Wireframes

Oracle VDI 3.2 Wireframes Sun VDI 3.0 Wireframes Wireframing is a quite common method in user experience design. It is a way to explore and specify a user interface without wasting expensive engineering time. It is easy and fast to visualize an idea of the planned interaction flow, and discuss with colleagues. To that extend it is somewhere between sketches and formal interaction design specifications.

There are at least 18 Wireframing, Mockup And Prototyping Tools To Plan Designs available. (Und eine Diskussion im UXForum). However, when I joined the VDI team I decide to start my wireframes journey with OpenOffice.org Impress, OOo's presentation module.

A disclaimer on the second slide says, "This is not a presentation. It is a collection of low-fidelity screen designs, aka. »wireframes« for project xy. Therefore it is part of the specification at URL.". This should prevent anybody from presenting the slides with a projector one after another. The consequences on the audience would be horrible! And maybe this is the reason why I just show the thumbnails as an example.

Instead it is recommended to make extensive use of the Slide Sorter mode, and I am following a few simple rules to support orientation and navigation in the document. The slides are organized in a linearized way throughout the entire application.  BTW_ I am talking about Oracle VDI Manager, a web administration tool to configure user groups, pools of desktops of virtual machines, and hypervior and storage resources. And -- no surprise -- this is exactly the order of sections in the wireframes. Large images mark the beginnings of the sections because they remain visible even when zoomed out in slide sorter mode. See for instance the s-shaped image in the third row of the left image to the right. Another one is for example in the 7th row from the bottom. Between VDI 3.0 and VDI 3.2 (the image far right) the number of pages that correspond to the number of different screens in the application grew significantly. But I am still pursuing this approach, now with an image filling the entire slide. Look for the blue - water - pool image in row 13 / slide 51.

You can already see this in the skyscraper images to the right, but I assume that you clicked and zoomed-in meanwhile. Then you can discover some other visual hints that guide me and my colleagues through the document. Wizards. Drill-Down views, confirmation dialogs for delete operations, settings pages. And lots of colored text boxes that convey specific meaning, and of course more details than the wireframes themselves.

[Hurray, this is hypermedia. I made you open and inspect three tabs in your browser!]

Let me conclude with a couple of remarks. This is approach is only possible because of the robustness of OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice. However, performance and layout of the Slide Sorter should be improved. Second, this approach is only possible because of additional User Interface guidelines because by definition wireframes provide just the layout, maybe the interaction, definitely not the visual design. And last but not least, it's possible because of the engineering team. There are plenty of iterations and dozens of shared screen conferences between Hamburg, Dublin, and Guichen. Over the time the team got used to wireframes as one central element for developing Oracle VDI.    

And finally, I am happy, that I delivered the forth part of my VDI UX Story to you.

Wednesday Jun 30, 2010

Last day for Sun Microsystems GmbH

Today was the last day of Sun Microsystems GmbH (in Germany). 28 years after Andreas von Bechtolsheim, Scott McNeally, and Vinnod Khosla founded the Stanford University Network\*, the company does not exist anymore.

I've joined Sun in 2002 and 2008. My first "season" was on improving the user experience of StarOffice and OpenOffice.org. Since 31st of March 2008 (to avoid an April fool's joke) I am working in the area of desktop virtualization. My main product is Sun VDI, and I consult with Sun Ray and Secure Global Desktop. As Sun is ending, it occurred to me that I am the last User Experience Architect at Sun ever. But I guess, now it's too late to get that printed on business cards. And there would be not enough room to mention all the other exceptional colleagues and friends that I met at Sun: Jo Bugental, Frank Ludolph, Nancy Frishberg, Bruce Lee, Annette Wagner, Nicole Yankelovich, Robin Jeffries, Rob Mori, and many more that I cannot mention here. I am happy that we keep in touch at the SunUXD Alumni Group. Furthermore, I should not forget Katy Dickinson's SEED mentoring program with the very special summit in 2006.

Sun & Oracle

I am looking forward to continue to work with Sunnies that are still around, and to meet and collaborate with new folks at Oracle. In fact, many people, projects, and products continue to be part of Oracle, and we've been busy in rebranding Sun's products during the recent couple of weeks. Lots of stuff to share when time is up (e.g. Oracle VDI 3.2).

Bye-Bye Sun.

--

\* Bill Joy joined shortly thereafter.

Friday Apr 16, 2010

Renaissance Slide Sorter Comments

some comments on RenaissanceSlide Sorter @slide 21:
  • hurray, the slide titles are gone! This saves a lot of space.
  • you might consider to remove the slide numbers as well. This saves even more space.
  • They might be displayed on mouse over.
  • http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=110886
  • What matters though is the total number of visible slides. But there are some unused fields in the status bar...
  • I really like the gray stripes for skipped slides.
  • you should make sure that they are also visible for gray stripped slides -- well, I'm kidding. But they should be visible on dark backgrounds.
  • I think you should iterate on the visual design of the selection. Much too prominent. I would try a connected area to keep the display calm. A quick mockup:

Thursday Dec 10, 2009

On Creating Slides

Re: Project Renaissance Impress Improvements - Found the required slide layout yet?

Hi Andreas,

FYI_ I've developed the habit to use the context menu to create new slides. And I do it in the context (read the location of the click) of a slide that already uses the desired layout. Then the only operation I have to do is to drag the slide to the final position (if it is not already there.) So please consider the following:

  1. do not open the task pane if a new slide is created. I do not need it. It is just annoying.
  2. select the new slide if a new slide is inserted in Slide Sorter mode. Currently --in Mac OOo 3.1.1-- the first slide gets selected and the slide sorter scrolls to the top. Grrrr. Did I mention that the task pane opens as well. Grrr2
  3. I appreciate that you want to reduce the number of different layouts. Do you? I hope so. I typically just use #1, #3, maybe #4 or #5. Do you have statistical data which layouts are actually used? The empty slide is the best in stock to place a full screen image --BTW_ this is the only layout that is currently missing, a full screen image.

cheers
Matthias

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